With March Madness just finishing and the NBA playoffs just around the corner, we think that a look back at some of the best basketball players in history is in order. Basketball, after all, is really the definitive American sport. No long, boring stretches (a la baseball), no 15-minute time-outs every 5 minutes (a la football), and no scores of 0 - 1 (a la soccer). Instead, basketball is about getting the most points and pissing off the opposing team. What could be more American than that?

1. PLAYERS 10 - 8

10. Alex English - 25,613 points

Despite being the most prolific scorer of the 1980s and cornerstone of the high-scoring Denver Nuggets throughout that time, English remains relatively unknown today. Perhaps this is due to his soft-spoken demeanor, or his workmanlike style that lacked the flash of the Harlem Globetrotters. But when he did speak, he was never lacking in elegance. In fact, he is probably the only NBA player to have multiple books of poetry published while playing (and you try holding a pencil while running a lay-up!).

After retiring in 1991, English went on to a post within the NBA Players' Association as Director of Player Programs and Services, overseeing such things as drug and HIV treatment programs. His number was retired in Denver in 1992 and he is a current Hall of Famer.

9. John Havlicek - 26,395 points

Every rabid basketball fan has seen the famous highlight footage where Celtic announcer Johnny Most cries, "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!" For those of you who don't know what we're talking about, we'll set the scene: with 5 seconds left in game seven of the 1965 Eastern Division Finals, John Havlickek stole the ball to preserve a one-point Boston win. His on-court hustle was what he was known for, both as a guard, where he was bigger than his opponents, and as a forward, where he was faster.

But most of all, Havlicek was known as a winner. Among his many personal accomplishments, he was on 8 NBA champion teams in Boston throughout the 60s and 70s, playing with the likes of Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and Dave Cowens through two separate "dynasty" periods. (We'll let you know if a Dallas or Knott's Landing period hits the scene.)

8. Dominique Wilkins - 26,669 points

The so-called "human highlight film" of the 80s had a scoring average over 20 points per game for 11 straight seasons, and won the scoring championship once. He would almost certainly be higher up on the list, in fact, if he didn't keep taking off to play in Europe all the time. He played a year in Greece, averaging 20 points a game and leading his team to the European championship, where he was named MVP of the Final Four.

Wilkins played most of his career in Atlanta, but gave up on team loyalty after being traded to the LA Clippers for Danny Manning midway through his 12th season. After that, he bounced around everywhere, including overseas. He has yet to win a championship, though, and is playing this year in Orlando with his brother, Gerald. So don't count him out.